Quality of reporting in infertility journals

Capsule:
Except for the most commonly cited fertility and gynecology journals, reporting guidelines are uncommonly requested from the authors. Also, accomplishment of CONSORT items was suboptimal in randomized controlled trials.

Authors:
Demian Glujovsky, M.D., M.Sc., Carolina Boggino, M.D., Barbara Riestra, M.D., Andrea Coscia, M.D., Carlos E. Sueldo, M.D., Agustín Ciapponi, M.D., M.Sc.

Volume 103, Issue 1, Pages 236-241

Abstract:

Objective:
To evaluate whether fertility and top gynecology journals indexed in PubMed require the use of reporting guidelines and to identify the percentage of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in 2013 that were written following CONSORT guidelines in the top four fertility journals (by their highest impact factor).

Design:
Cross-sectional study evaluating instructions for authors and RCTs published in fertility journals.

Setting:
Academic institution.

Patient(s):
None.

Intervention(s):
None.

Main Outcome Measure(s):
Proportion of instruction-for-authors documents that suggested or required the use of reporting guidelines, and proportion of RCTs published in 2013 that accomplished the CONSORT checklist.

Result(s):
In 47% (16/34) of the journals one or more reporting guidelines were mentioned in the instructions for authors’ documents. PRISMA and CONSORT were the most commonly mentioned reporting guidelines. None of the analyzed RCTs completed the 25 items of CONSORT guideline. Sequence generation or allocation concealment was not described in 69% of the studies. One-third of the journals did not publish a flowchart, 72% did not show relative and absolute size-effect measures, and 42% did not use measures of imprecision. In the summaries, 42% did not discuss the limitations of the study and 78% did not mention the generalizability of the results.

Conclusion(s):
Less than half of the analyzed peer-reviewed journals request the authors to use reporting guidelines. Nevertheless, among the top fertility and gynecology journals, reporting guidelines are widely mentioned. Overall, accomplishment of CONSORT items was suboptimal. Editorial boards, reviewers, and authors should join efforts to improve the quality of reporting.

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